Z-Car

Chrysler’s Super Secret Electric Trio

After the big splash last week with GM’s Volt announcement, Chrysler has decided to release information on their previously secret electric car program. Chrysler announced plans today to introduce a full line of electric vehicles by late 2010, including cars, trucks and SUV’s.

Chrysler Chairman Robert Nardelli introduced three new cars; an extended-range electric Chrysler EV Minivan, an extended-range electric Jeep EV , and a fully electric sports car dubbed the Dodge EV. Like GM, Chrysler is dealing with a technology that isn’t quite ready for prime-time. Chrysler is currently working with “four or five” out of the dozen lithium-ion battery companies to have something ready by 2010. Chrysler is launching a new joint venture with General Electric (Chrysler CEO Nardelli former employer) aimed at developing even more advanced battery systems

Chrysler, which was acquired a year ago by private-equity group Cerberus Capital Management LP, has been searching for partners to help it keep in the race to launch high-tech cars that cut fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Dodge Electric Vehicle
The planned Dodge EV will be a rear-wheel-drive sports car that seats two and has a 268 horsepower electric motor that creates a stout 480 lb-ft of torque. Performance is zero to 60 in fewer than five seconds and a 13 second quarter mile time. All of this comes with a driving range of 150-200 miles on an eight hour charge. Do these numbers sound familiar? They should, the EV is built on a Lotus Europa platform, and sports almost the same technology as the Tesla Roadster.

Jeep Electric Vehicle
The Jeep Wrangler EV will have an engine capable of producing 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The estimated range is 40 miles electric; 400 miles total with gasoline assist.

Chrysler Town & Country EV
“The Chrysler EV combines the electric-drive components of an Electric Vehicle with an integrated small-displacement engine and generator to produce additional electricity to power the electric-drive system when needed. This provides all of the positive attributes of an Electric Vehicle and extends the driving range to be equivalent to today’s gasoline-powered vehicles – without compromises.”